Health help in hand: testing a cell phone-based aid for community health workers and data-gathering platform

$100,000 | India | Stage 1

THE OPPORTUNITY: Provide a scalable mobile health product to enhance community-based efforts to improve maternal and child health

THE PROJECT:  The growing ubiquity of mobile phones in the developing world provides opportunity for improving health outcomes in rural areas. Dimagi, a Charlestown, MA-based technology company, has developed an open source mobile and cloud-based platform, CommCare, which goes beyond the scope of most mobile health technologies to provide comprehensive support for health workers in addition to data collection. CommCare allows any community health organization to quickly create and customize health applications and download them onto the phones of community health workers for free use. These applications use multimedia prompts that deliver maternal health education to new mothers, tailored to literacy level and local dialect. DIV's $100,000 contribution to Dimagi has catalyzed the global deployment of CommCare, allowing the technology to be refined for use in 10 countries across the globe and piloted with local implementing partners mobilizing more than $1.5 million in investments directly in CommCare evaluation and scale up over next two years. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation chose CommCare for their $100 million effort in Bihar.

THE RESULTS: Preliminary calculations indicate that the total cost of ownership for CommCare is $86 per community health worker per year. This cost can be shared by governments, external donors, NGO, or others. The Government of India is currently providing incentives that alone can amount to over $1,000 per health worker per year. 

Last updated: February 19, 2013

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